Kate Winslet can pull off Oscar-grade without breaking sweat. Possibly ‘Labor Day’ is not strong enough to send another Oscar nomination her way, but she is ‘Revolutionary Road’-brilliant – once again, somehow, making an epic the story of an ordinary woman. And Josh Brolin furrow his brows with manly determination.
You’re famously picky about films. Why did you say yes to ‘Labor Day’?
‘I liked the script and I wanted to work with Kate. I probably wouldn’t have done the film if it wasn’t for her. She and I were like two truck drivers having a great time.’
Do you ever regret becoming famous at 39 rather than 19?
‘No, it was probably a godsend. A lot of the guys I grew up with were pretty destructive. And maybe I would have gotten into bad drugs or something like that. I spent years working on films where it didn’t matter whether I was good or not. But even now, I can walk down the street. I’m not George Clooney.’
Were you ever tempted to throw it all in?
‘I did. I was doing TV, and I said to my agent that I’d rather not work than do this. So I started trading stocks. I made good money, more money than I’d made in acting, for sure.’
There is an erotic scene involving a peach pie in the film. Did you learn to bake?
‘I did. I had an abject fear that I was going to look like an idiot filming that scene. I was practising making pies at my house. I cooked a pie a day for two-and-a-half months.’
How much weight did you put on?
‘None. I had to lose weight. I showed up on set a little plump because I had been in Scotland eating scones.’
You played George Bush in Oliver Stone’s film ‘W.’. Did you find anything in common with him?
‘Not really, no. Maybe some similar insecurities, wanting to live up to something, his relationship with his father. Mine wasn’t as bad. But my father was an actor [James Brolin], so when I first got into it, I wanted to do things differently. I didn’t want to be helped.’
‘Labor Day’ opens in UK cinemas on Fri Mar 21.